Outcomes of vascular access creation prior to dialysis: building the case for early referral

ASAIO J. Jul-Aug 2009;55(4):355-60. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e31819f635c.


A 2-year single institution experience of the successes and complications of arteriovenous fistula (AVF) creation before dialysis initiation is reported. Study cohort: all patients who underwent AVF creation before need for dialysis (AVF group, n = 125). "Control" group: all patients with a sustained glomerular filtration rate (GFR) <or=25 ml/min and eligible for AVF creation during the same time period, but did not have an access placed before dialysis (no AVF group, n = 198). Median nephrology contact time was >12 months in both groups and mean eGFR at creation (AVF group) was 12 ml/min. In the AVF group, 72% underwent a successful first AVF creation, 11% suffered AVF thrombosis, and 17% had a nonmaturing AVF before need for dialysis. Sixty-six percent (n = 23) of these latter patients underwent a second AVF creation and 48% were mature at dialysis initiation. During the study period, 70% (n = 88, AVF group) and 61% (n = 121, no AVF group) commenced dialysis. Impressively, 72% (n = 66) of the AVF group used a mature fistula as their first dialysis access. A snapshot of "access in use" at the 6-month mark of dialysis revealed the AVF group had a higher number of patients using an AVF (81% vs. 44%) and a lower number with catheters (19% vs. 56%, respectively, p = 0.001). In conclusion, the success rate of early AVF creation is reasonable and complications when identified can be remedied without the need for a catheter, thus ultimately maximizing the use of AVF in dialysis patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / pathology*
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Thrombosis
  • Treatment Outcome